Let’s Talk Turkey

Let’s talk turkey is highly topical given we are in the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching. But I am not talking about succulent, yummy stuff and roasted turkey…

No, sorry. Definitely not the one you probably plan to eat over the Festive season – although I do have a GREAT recipe for stuffing that’s been a guarded secret, handed down through the years. I finally got my hands on it last year!

I mean talking turkey about your business. Being serious. About what can be achieved. What has to be done and what can be left aside.

Getting down to business

Yes, it’s about stuff in your business. Or more precisely what you should and should not be stuffing into your calendar.

Social media, and likely as not your inbox is going mad right now with loads of special offers – Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Bargains Galore.

Everyone is wanting to sell you something.

Tips to still the noise

1) Choose wisely who you want to hear from. Unsubscribe from what you are not seriously in need of or who you do not genuinely enjoy hearing from.

2) If internet distractions are a big problem when you sit down to work there’s a great app called Cold Turkey! In the interest of full disclosure, this is Sasha’s affiliate link.

It’s a blocking app you can install on your PC. There is a free and a pro version which allows you to turn on a timer which will block off access to all webpages that are frequent distractions.  It is very powerful and works wonders for time management!

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. FOMO is real!

But, to be successful in your goals…, it is VITAL to still the noise.

To be able to work out what is valuable for you and your situation right now.

“Experts” with bright shiny websites are there to tempt you with offers to make you a millionaire.

Truth told – much is smoke and mirrors. It’s clever marketing.

I do have a free tip sheet on choosing someone to work with – it’s right here for you to grab if you want it.

SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome is alive and well, which is exactly why using FOMO  tactics works so well.

But here’s the thing…when you get to a certain point in your life you realise it all comes down to…going cold turkey.

Planning ahead

2020 heralds the end of the teens. A new decade lies ahead.

A time to be grown up and take your business by the horns rather than ‘stuffing’ around.

Without a plan written down, that is measurable, achievable and progress, you’ll find yourself floundering around. Been there and done that myself!

No, I am not a rag to riches story – I have lovely parents, had food on the table every night and was well educated with nice clothes on my back.

Failures

That said, I’ve also had my share of failures, of making bad decisions because I did not know any better.

It’s my lived experiences of failures that have brought me success.

Mistakes I made include growing too fast, spending money on tools I was not ready for (and did not really know how to use!) BUT I learnt many lessons!

Successes

My biggest successes have been on the roughest terrain with lots of bumps in the road but thanks to having a MAP I’ve been able to navigate those bumps that have included tight budgets, people letting me down, unexpected twists and turns that meant a quick pivot.

Those lessons are what I now use to guide my clients to success.

Write it down

Here’s a quick tip – when you write something down it becomes all the more real. It becomes a commitment to yourself.

Make it real! Let me know in the comments what the first action is that you’re going to take towards a successful 2020.

To your success!
Michelle

PS My Mastermind Membership that starts on 1 December 2019. If you’d like to be considered for a scholarship entry (Value $297 for 6 months) drop me a note to michelle@dragonsisters.com.au and tell me why you’d value a place 🙂

 

 

Why “Me Time” & Self-Care need to be a priority in your life

Practising self-care and taking time out for yourself is something everyone should be doing.

The importance of “Me Time” should never be underestimated. Yet so many women in business fail to take care of themselves first and foremost.

It makes no sense and yet it is such a common practice.

Why is this?

We operate in a busy and demanding world. I understand the outside interferences that can make it tough to carve out time for yourself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day. And then what happens is that we often put ourselves last on the list of important things to take care of.

I’ve been there myself and it’s definitely not a good way to operate.

Making yourself a priority is not a luxury. It’s an essential.

So why do we do this?

Feelings of Guilt & Fear

At a subconscious level, you may be experiencing a feeling of guilt. And of fear.

For instance, it’s common for working mothers to be feeling that time at home needs to be spent with their kids, or doing something for the family – things like cooking, baking a batch of cookies etc…you get the picture.

And, dare I say it, a sense of inability to leave “the team” to cope?  I mean your family, your staff and colleagues.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone!

But, guess what? They’ll manage. You are not indispensable – no one is.

Yes, we are each unique and valuable, but that is not the same as being indispensable.

The world will go on without you

Yes, it really will.

I learnt this first-hand many years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before my diagnosis, I would feel guilty of leaving the family. I felt I needed to be there for them all the time.

Time to pursue my own activities would be once they grew up; my daughter was 3 and my son 12 at that time.

I was a mother, a businesswoman and a homemaker. My life was busy and I was needed everywhere – I was the glue holding everything together.

Being diagnosed was a slap in the face and a case of a very rude awakening. The reality that I might not actually live to see my children grow up made me realise…

I was doing them no favours by making myself indispensable to the family.

Plus, I was also cheating myself out of my life. All those things on hold might NEVER happen. A very frightening thought!

Suffice it to say I went through an emotional roller coaster over the course of my treatment. It was no picnic.

But… as I emerged out the other end of the treatment tunnel – a dark and lonely place – I knew that I needed to make time for me. For lots of different reasons.

The world will not end if you step away for a few days.

In fact, being constantly “on” does no one any favours. Not you, not your Board, not your team, not your clients and definitely not your family.

Sure you might be there in body.

But being present means a lot more than just your physical presence.

You need to be there in mind too – to be able to enjoy and concentrate on the moments you are in.

Being on auto-pilot is cheating both yourself and those who you are with.

Me Time

Taking time for your own self-care is absolutely essential. It’s not always easy, but you know what?

Where there’s a will…there’s a way.

Nurturing yourself makes sense on so many different levels.

After all, if you’re not in tip-top condition – how will you service your clients or look after your family?

Making yourself a priority is fundamental to being happy in your life.

Happiness comes from within

No matter what surrounds you externally, it is how you feel within that makes you happy. It is not about money, other people or possessions.

People, places and things do not make you happy.

Yes, they might be giving you a short boost but it does not last…because it is driven by external factors. If you do not value yourself enough to create “Me Time” and practice self-care, you may appear outwardly happy, but internally it is a different story.

Part of being happy, at least in my experience, is making a date with yourself for “Me Time”.

It comes down to making a conscious effort to devote a part of each and every day to self-care. Time dedicated to you.

Using Your Me Time

How you choose to use that time is very much a personal decision.

It’s got to be a space or activity where you get to still the chattering monkeys in your mind and replenish your energy.

Speaking personally, I have a very busy schedule that includes travel, family to care for and a business to run.

This means I need to use a range of techniques that are quick and easy to practice depending on where I am. It’s not a lot of time, but it is some time each day and that is the key.

My Personal Practices

I usually practice 10 minutes of meditation when I first get up, go walking or paddling. Depending on where I am and what my schedule is like that particular day will determine my daily practice.

I never listen to music, podcasts etc as I walk. I like to be in the moment and absorb what is around me and allow my mind to just be. Nothing to think about.

I journal and write regularly as a way of clearing the brain, and I also take time out to sit outside for lunch whenever I can.

Working across time zones makes routines a challenge so I need to maximise my business days. My small daily self-care activities keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to rest and empty my brain sufficiently to have the space to give more of myself to those I am working with and looking after.

Need help getting started?

So often I hear “It’s alright for you Michelle, but I can’t do that”.

My answer is “YES, you can – if you really want to. ” 

It all begins with EMPOWERING YOURSELF! If you need help understanding HOW to do this – reach out to me for some additional tips.

Are taking care of yourself first and foremost? Let me know in the comments.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

Bringing your ideas to life…means taking ACTION

You can have the very best idea in the world but unless you take action it will remain simply that – an idea. A dream.

It takes grit. It takes hard work.

Success comes from action.

Dreams become reality when you are committed to WORKING for them.

Spending time “thinking” or continually taking another course will not move you forward.

Yes, you may have lots of theoretical learning, but…

ACTION is what leads to achievement.


Any action, even if it’s an imperfect action it is a move in the right direction.

You learn by implementing – it may not work the first time – that’s quite normal!  But you learn valuable lessons.

Heck, if I had been waiting for the perfect moment, I would never have achieved half of what I have.

And yes, I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes along the way too – but they are learning experiences.

Taking the plunge is not easy.

Failure is common…but dusting yourself off and learning from those mistakes is what propels you towards success.

Think of how a child learns to walk…

First by using all their strength to pull themselves up on whatever furniture is available (heck, some even use the dog!).

Then getting braver and lurching from handhold to handhold.

A few wobbly steps. A few landings on their nappy padded bum.

Do they give up?

No.

They stagger to their feet again continuing to try… leveraging off what is available. Eventually, they succeed …and are off and running. No stopping them!

It’s exactly the same when it comes down to business.

The theory is all well and good. But taking action…even if it is baby steps, is what that propels you towards your goals.

Struggling to take action steps?

Fear is natural.

Change takes time. Learning new skills takes practice, but the results are worth it.

Now here’s the thing…you can do all this on your own. Absolutely you can.

But…likely as not it will be a stop-start process as you battle alone through the hurdles and obstacles that inevitably pop up to challenge you.

As an adult in business, it’s not as easy to find handholds to leverage off. But, if you are open and actively searching they are there…in both paid and unpaid forms.

Unpaid forms

These typically include things like free workshops hosted by a range of organisations ranging from your local Business Development Offices, Chamber of Commerce, Live Webinars and even Facebook groups.

All of these are very valuable and have their place. They are especially helpful if you are bootstrapping and cash is very tight.

A word of caution; these can lead you down a number of rabbit holes and infect you with a case of SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome.

You know what I mean…

You hear all these great ideas and start to research or chase after them. The result is quite often that you lose your way and waste time.

Paid forms

These are more typically a workshop, course, business coaching and mentoring.

Prices fluctuate enormously and range from under $50 to well in excess of $10,000. When choosing what to pay for, it’s vital to do your research.

As with anything that you are paying for, it’s crucial to measure up if it’s the right fit for your business at this moment in time.

My recommendation is always to start with a short course/session with that particular consultant/teacher/presenter.

By starting off with a small investment you have the opportunity to assess whether you’re going to be a good ‘fit’ for each other. Mutual respect is crucial.

Engaging a business consultant/coach to help you is a way to fast track through the woods to get to the clearing on the other side.

It’s not cheap but it’s highly effective. It’s also not as expensive as you might think.

Having a great mentor or coach makes all the difference in the world. It’s what accelerates your development and growth. They are your encouragement, teacher and supporter.

Most important of all…you unlock your own truth so there’s no room for procrastination.

The truth can sometimes be a challenge to deal with, but if you’re serious about moving ahead…it needs to be faced.

If you’re struggling to move to the next level we specialize in offering actionable, momentum-building support to help you….

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – check out this article by Brad Stulberg – 8 rules to do everything better.

Nothing is all Lattes and Laughs …

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

On Wednesday Michelle and I sat down together for the first time in over three weeks. Being your own boss is awesome when you can kick back over an excellent fresh ground coffee to shoot the breeze. But we were working. Honest!

Shooting the breeze is a weekly event, even if only via Skype sometimes (which I love because Michelle can’t see my fluffy Pokémon slippers).

It’s when we check out what’s going well, what’s to be improved (for Dragon Sisters as well as for our clients), what’s to be ditched or tweaked. And, best of all, it’s a big fat brainstorm on what we want to do next.

Read: what the business needs next. Or sometimes, right this minute!

One massive advantage of being a small business is that you can make fast decisions and get them happening quicker than Superman can put his tights on.

Being small means being agile is a breeze.

I like to think that whilst we’re Mini in size, boy are we Ferrari fast! By lunchtime, we were ready to launch a new product. For a new market.

Exciting!! Had this been Skype my Pokémon’s would have been doing their Happy Pokémon Prance.

This evening, as I was pondering the subject for this week’s blog, it occurred to me that many of our readers are just like us. Some, are making their first foray into being an SME (small to medium enterprise). And I thought, this really hasn’t been a breeze. Ten years on, it’s easier, but let’s be honest, nothing is all Lattes and Laughs.

The difference between working ON your business and working IN your business

Michelle wrote a very real view on The Truth About Being Your Own Boss last year.

It has some insightful tips, like the difference between working on your business and working in your business.

Plus, 5 Tips for Working ON Your Business. Super easy, super do-able tips you can use now – cos you too are Ferrari Fast.

She also mentions one of our private Facebook groups, which you can check out, and join us there if you like the idea of an authentic Q&A platform with folk just like you and us. You can also promo your business, share and get ideas, and even on occasion, Opportunities? You know how I love the O word!

Fly Like A Dragon

Yvonne




The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

Maybe you’re already your own boss, or maybe it’s something you aspire to be in the not too distant future.

Unless you’re totally cut off from the online world and social media, then you’ve no doubt read stories or seen ads popping up in your social media feeds featuring “successful” entrepreneurs posing in fancy cars, jets or sitting on a beach sipping cocktails.

The internet is overflowing with these kinds of success stories – they are everywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the list goes on.

Are they true? Maybe. But that’s not the point.

My point is this…the stories are all about chucking in boring jobs, starting their own business, making millions and sitting on a beach watching the money roll in.

Sounds like a dream life. Right?

It’s absolutely true that when you start your own business and work for yourself you have the freedom to do as you like.

You have no one else to answer to except yourself. Total freedom.

Hmmm, …idyllic BUT not quite that simple.

Even for those who are at the very top of the tree, there’s still a ton of work to be done behind the scenes.

Yes, it’s definitely true that you have freedom in the sense you get to choose what to do and when to do it. But… only to a certain extent.

I currently have my own business and have owned a couple of others prior to starting Dragon Sisters 10 years ago. I do, on the surface, have freedom and flexibility to do as I like.

The Truth

However, the reality of being your own boss is a little different.

The bottom line is this … It all comes down to your own efforts to succeed. You are in the driver’s seat and 100% responsible.

You are your own hero.

The truth is, as someone who runs their own business, the onus always lies on you to bring in the $$.

Of course, the more successful you are, the less pressure there is on bringing in the basics to cover the day-to-day essentials.

However, here’s the thing…

No matter how successful you are, you still need to be out there smarketing.

You need to be paying attention to your strategy, sales and marketing.

For instance, coming back to my own example, even when I’m fully booked up I’m still out there adding in workshop dates, interacting on social media and attending a couple of face to face events.

I’m actively keeping my brand out there.

Why do you need to do this?

No matter what your product or service is unless you continue to pay attention to your profile in the marketplace, you cannot stay front of mind.

This is why all the top names spend time and money doing tours, running workshops, marketing via social media and much more. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to stay ahead of the game, to be at the forefront.

When you stop and think about this, it makes absolute sense. The world moves at a fast pace today and there is so much competition for attention.

The Danger Zone

As you start to get ahead you begin to feel confident. That’s a great feeling. Things are going in the direction you want, so you start to relax a bit. After all, you’ve done the hard work.

This is the danger point.

Unless you have robust systems in place, you cannot expect to just take off and leave your business to tick along.

I’ve seen this happen all too often. Good people going down the tubes because they’ve failed to famine proof the business by having systems in place. Their radars are not alert to nuances of change or to opportunities for growth.

NOOO! I want to scream out. Sure, take a little break to refresh and relax, but you must also reframe your thinking.

Yes, take a holiday. Yes, take time for yourself, but have a plan in place for things to be managed while you are away.

Make sure you are personally looking over reports, check in on your own social media channels and keep your radar alert for anything that is out of the ordinary.

It makes me want to cry when I see people who have spent months, perhaps years, building businesses to a point of success and then taking their foot off the accelerator when the pressure to succeed eases.

I have made this very mistake myself, and I speak from experience and lessons learnt.

Keep the focus on your business no matter what.

It’s the old adage “momentum flows where attention goes.”

If your attention is not on your business then it loses momentum.

Notice I used the word ON rather than in?

This is a really important differential.

When you work ON your business, you’re taking a helicopter perspective. You have a vision, you see opportunity and you maximise wherever you can.

Working in your business means your head is down, occupied with the detail and minutia. You cannot see the woods for the trees.

As your business grows, it is vital to take the time to work ON the business, as opposed to in it. This is what those highly successful people sitting on the beach are doing. They’re working on their business – always.

The being your own boss formula is simple. Put in the time and your business will grow.

If you love what you do and have a real passion for it, then it no longer seems like work.

6 Tips for Working ON Your Business

1) Set aside 20 minutes a day (5 days a week) dedicated to your personal marketing activities.

This does not mean pushing out brand messages. It means interacting. Remember, people buy people so you need to maintain your presence to stay front of mind.

2) Be consistently attentive

People remember those who bother to respond personally. Don’t fall into the trap of only responding or reaching out when you want something.

3) Regularly view your business revenue streams.

What can you tweak? What should you ditch? What can you add?

4) Delegate/Outsource.

Consider what tasks can be handled by others freeing you up to concentrate on what you do best.  This FREE tip sheet may be helpful when it comes to choosing a consultant to outsource to.

5) Actively listen to your marketplace.

Be truly attentive to what they are saying in order to meet their needs. It’s not about selling your product or service, it’s about offering a solution to their problem.

6) Set aside time for yourself each day – to refresh, reframe and relax.

This is not an indulgence but essential to your personal well being. Time for yourself means you have a chance to allow still the chatter in your mind. Meditation, journalling and walking are some of my personal favourite ways of grabbing “me time” each day.

Nurturing your success

Starting your own business is an adventure. One that comes with many ups, and downs, but brings with it many rewards.

Your ongoing nurturing will ensure your business continues to thrive.  You’ll be able to sit on the beach and your efforts in working on the business are helping it become famine proof.

If you want the freedom to follow your passion, then owning your own business and being your own boss is fantastic. I have never looked back. Sure there are hurdles to overcome at times, but I love what I do.

The photograph I’ve used for this post was taken with fellow Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni – Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs and Nathalie Hernandez from Ella Bache Palmerston .

To your success,

Michelle

PS Need a little support or got questions? Feel free to connect and ask your questions on our Facebook page